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Judge dismisses PETA's slavery lawsuit against SeaWorld

Leah Zanolla | Posted: Feb 11, 2012 | Updated: Oct 19, 2014 - 9:25:27 AM
PETA's lawsuit against SeaWorld on behalf of five whales has been thrown out of court. In October, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sued SeaWorld for holding whales as slaves in their marine parks. PETA has been upset about whales performing in shows at SeaWorld for years, but this is the first lawsuit where whales were actually named as plaintiffs, "asking" to be granted the same constitutional rights as people.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller in San Diego has dismissed the case this week, saying that "slavery and involuntary servitude are uniquely human activities, as those terms have been historically and contemporaneously applied, there is simply no basis to construe the Thirteenth Amendment as applying to non-humans."

Jeffrey Kerr, attorney for PETA, released a statement, saying, "This historic first case for the orcas' right to be free under the 13th Amendment is one more step taken toward the inevitable day when all animals will be free from enslavement for human amusement. Today's decision does not change the fact that the orcas who once lived naturally wild and free, are today kept as slaves by SeaWorld. PETA will regroup and determine how to continue to work for the legal protection they deserve."

According to SeaWorld, the lawsuit was baseless and wasted the court's time and money. They have long denied the mistreatment of their animals and have been known for their efforts to promote conservation and preserve the environment.